What You Need to Know about Attorneys’ Fees for Accident Claims
Personal injury victims face many challenges. First, there’s the obvious pain and suffering. Medical bills mount, and lost wages make survival difficult. If someone else caused you harm, you might need the help of a lawyer. In that regard, it’s essential to understand how New Jersey law works when it comes to attorneys’ fees for accident claims.
You should not delay retaining a lawyer because of fear you can’t afford to pay an hourly rate. Experienced personal injury attorneys represent accident victims based on contingency fee agreements. What does that mean exactly?
The American Bar Association offers some valuable insight about contingency fees. The bottom line is that your attorney only collects legal fees if your case concludes with a successful outcome. And, the attorneys’ fees are based on a percentage of the net money awarded to you for damages.
In the meantime, the New Jersey Court Rules set guidelines regarding fees for accident claims. According to Rule 1:21-7 (c), attorneys entering into contingency fee agreements for adult injury victims shall not contract for, charge, or collect a contingent fee over the following limits:
(1) 33⅓% on the first $750,000 recovered;
(2) 30% on the next $750,000 recovered;
(3) 25% on the next $750,000 recovered;
(4) 20% on the next $750,000
You should know some other critical information about attorneys’ fees when it comes to personal injury cases. If the case for a minor or someone mentally incapacitated settles before trial, the lawyer receives 25% of the amount recovered.
Workers’ Comp: Attorneys’ Fees for Accident Claims
You should know that the circumstances leading to your injury matter when it comes to the calculation of attorneys’ fees. The primary difference focuses on whether your accident occurred at work.
Even if your lawyer negotiates a settlement for your workers’ compensation claim, the court becomes involved in your case. Every filed workers’ compensation case requires a judge to sign an order.
Workers’ compensation attorneys are prohibited from charging clients fees. Instead, the court orders attorneys’ fees at the conclusion of the case. NJSA 34:15-64 calls for reasonable attorneys’ fees, not exceeding 20% of the judgment entered by the court. In many cases, the judge splits the fee between the insurance company and money due to you.
Once again, your attorney receives no fees if the court decides you are not entitled to recover any money. Workers’ compensation cases are also handled on a contingency basis.
As you might guess, your attorney incurs expenses in conjunction with gathering evidence to prove your case. Take, for example, what needs to be done when it comes to a slip and fall accident.
In addition to providing proof of your injuries, liability needs to be established. Therefore, it’s common for an attorney to retain the services of an investigator or engineer to determine if a negligent condition caused your fall.
Some law firms will require you to pay for an expert up front. While this request can be legitimate, the Law Offices of Anthony Carbone advances these costs on behalf of our clients.
If the investigation reveals no finding of liability, our office will not expect reimbursement of costs. However, expert fees are deducted as a disbursement if your case comes to a successful resolution.
Contingency fee agreements for auto accidents, premises liability, and products liability all follow the same rules. Attorneys’ fees are based on net recovery, after subtraction of expenses associated with the pursuit of your legal action.
For example, consider a case that settles for $65K. The lawyer shows disbursements of $5K, which includes paying an investigator and payment for medical records and reports. With attorneys’ fees computed at the net recovery of $60K, the lawyer receives $20K.
The Law Offices of Anthony Carbone represents injury victims for over thirty years. We handle cases on a contingency basis and look for the best outcome possible. Contact us to schedule an appointment.